Negotiating

Brand paid you 50% less? Here’s why it doesn’t matter.

It's time to stop getting hung up over the pennies.

4 Minute Read

Y'all ever sit down and do the math on how much you earned from your creator business in the last 6-12 months?

Maybe you're not quite hitting the numbers you were hoping to…or maybe you're knocking it out of the park.

But if you’re like me, you probably kinda forget about the individual deals you’ve done over the months and instead look proudly at that grand total.

Because big or small, YOU EARNED IT!

But when you’re in the heat of a negotiation for a specific brand deal, it can be so easy to get hung up on getting paid your “full” rate (because…you deserve it, right)?

So let’s talk about why losing out on a few dollars here and there doesn’t actually matter.

It’s Not Personal.

Most brands are beholden to internal budgets that are set in stone, and these will vary based on things like the marketing initiative, campaign type (conversion, repurposing, awareness), terms, deliverables, and time of year.

So if a brand tells you their budget and it’s 20% less than you’d typically charge…

They’re probably not trying to sell YOU short, specifically.

They’re actually allocating their budget like a game of Tetris, figuring out how they can lock in their favorite creators (who all charge different amounts btw).

So DON’T drive negotiations into the ground over chump change.

Because if you do, you’re at risk of damaging your relationship with that brand.

After all, you don’t have to take the dang deal if a brand simply can’t meet your terms.

At worst, you’ll politely tell them it’s not gonna work out this time, but that you’d love to remain in touch about possible future collaborations.

Take it from me, banging your head against the wall trying to get your full rate (when it’s clear the brand can’t meet it) is a massive waste of time.

Personally, I charge every brand differently.

Brands rarely talk to each other and on the off-chance they do, it’s definitely NOT about specific rates creators are charging them for partnerships.

So it’s 100% fine to have significantly different pricing strategies for different brands, relative to the various terms and deliverables for each campaign.

BUT! It’s a little different when it comes to advertising agencies.

Agency colleagues who work across different brands DO talk to each other.

Two account executives working at the same agency will both know when you try quoting them 2x what you did last month.

The most important thing when you’ve worked with an agency or a brand on multiple occasions is to verify what you charged last time.

You don’t wanna accidentally ask for 5x more (unless your influence, performance, or the campaign dynamics warrants it)…

And you DEFINITELY don’t wanna ask for 50% less by mistake.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is rate consistency per brand and per agency.

Your personal stock portfolio.

Ultimately, the big “unlock” for me was when I started thinking of our sponsorship strategy like a diversified stock portfolio.

How much you net on each individual “stock” is kind of…irrelevant.

What’s most important is how much you’re bringing in consistently, and your returns over time.

At the end of the year, do you think you’ll remember that one deal that paid 10% less than your usual rate?

Or will you look at the grand total and think “dang, this was a great year”?

So stop fighting over pennies on every single deal if the offer is FAIR.

The last thing you want is for trivial stuff to sour your relationship with the brand or the agency and torpedo your chances of winning future business. ✌️

Be well!

Justin

P.S. Have you considered funding your project or creator business through grants?

Created by Danielle Desir Corbett, Grants For Creators is a biweekly newsletter curating the latest grants and other paid funding opportunities U.S. creators and small business owners can apply to. Join over 1,700 creators saving time on research by subscribing today.

Thanks to George Blackman for contributing to this piece.


Justin Moore | Creator Wizard